“Forgiveness is not about forgetting. It is about letting go of another person’s throat…..Forgiveness in no way requires that you trust the one you forgive…..Forgiveness does not excuse anything…..You may have to declare your forgiveness a hundred times the first day and the second day, but the third day will be less and each day after, until one day you will realize that you have forgiven completely. And then one day you will pray for his wholeness…..”
~ Wm. Paul Young, The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity
Three years, thirty-three checks and $10,544.28 later, recompense has been paid and restitution made for some of the items that were taken from my previous home over a period of several months.
I’ve “let go of his throat.”
Now that all the money is in the bank, the question is, what should we do with it? How do you spend restitution money? Do you split it two ways or in our case, four ways? Should it be put toward education or bills? Should we go on vacation? Give it to charity?
What would you do with it?
After catching this “burglar” in our home three years ago, we’ve moved on, mostly. Although the journey continues. Two of us have left that house and relocated.
My Edward still stands guard in the window where I left him, where the rest of my family lives, right next door to where this thief lives.
The sun has faded Edward some but his effect is the same. Creepy, like my former neighbor.
An Order of Protection remains in effect until June, 2015. It’s a silly piece of paper if you ask me, considering the Order prohibits our neighbor from being within 100-yards of any of the four of us, yet there’s barely ten-feet of shared grass that sits between his house and ours. Even though I’ve “let go of his throat”, truth be told, every time I drop off or pick my kids up from that address, I’m tempted to call the police. He is after all, in constant violation. He has been since the day the Order was signed, despite the pictures I provided the court. He’s also Caucasian, in his early twenties and always wears a hoody. I was suspect of him before I knew he was the one repeatedly breaking into our home and I will continue to be leary of any person, boy or girl, that chooses to hide their identity beneath a hood in public. I don’t care what color skin they have. I trust my instinct.
Two days before the last check was deposited, Diane from Probation called me.
It’s Diane, she said. I’m just checking in to see if you can speak on the 26th?
The other two woman who have sat on the panel with me since Diane started it two years ago will also be there. Twice a year this Impact Panel speaks before an audience of convicted felons. They’re required to attend as part of their sentence.
Yes, of course I will, I said.
It’s hard for me to say “no” to Diane when she was the only person in the judicial system who took the time to really listen and try to understand the impact of what happened to my family. She stood by my side when I spoke before the court the day of the sentencing.
Even though life goes on and we’ve all moved on, they need to know. They need to hear first-hand about how their actions can affect the lives, for years to come, of the people they’ve committed crimes against. In our case, months of trauma was endured while we tried to figure out who and why? My kids were only 8 and 11. Now, we’re a family that’s been torn apart and all of our lives have been changed forever.
While it’s important not to dwell on the past, it’s equally important not to forget it.
The past can not be changed. It is, what it is. Our lives today are what they are, not because of the past but because of how we chose to deal with it at the time.
Hey, if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger. Right?
I am a bull.
Besides, restitution has been made, a debt has been paid and I’ve “let go of his throat.”